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Caitlyn Jenner Seeks to Move Republicans on LGBT Issues

Caitlyn Jenner

On Tucker Carlson Tonight, Jenner discussed party politics and had a rather tense exchange with the host about whether trans people are capricious about their identity.

Caitlyn Jenner has found Donald Trump and his administration to be a disappointment on LGBT issues, but she's committed to moving the Republican Party in a better direction, she told Tucker Carlson on his Fox News Channel show Monday night.

"I would rather try to convince the Republican Party to do a better job when it comes to all LGBT issues than to try to convince the Democrats to lower taxes and lower regulations," Jenner said on Tucker Carlson Tonight, in response to the host's question on why she didn't vote for Hillary Clinton in the presidential election.

Jenner, promoting her memoir, The Secrets of My Life, appeared on the show's first airing in the 8 p.m. Eastern time slot. Carlson's show replaced The O'Reilly Factor there after Fox News let Bill O'Reilly go due to allegations by several women that he had sexually harassed them -- leading to numerous lawsuits and settlements, and a loss of advertising for his show.

Carlson called Jenner "brave" for openly backing Trump in the liberal enclave of Malibu, Calif., but she said, "I never came out and outwardly supported Trump. ... I'm on the Republican, conservative side, and he wound up being our candidate, and certainly I was going to vote for him." (During the Republican primary season, Jenner actually expressed a fondness for one of Trump's rivals for the presidential nomination, U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, then said she realized he was not a good candidate for trans people.) She further stressed that her first loyalty is to LGBT people.

She thought Trump would be "pretty good" on LGBT issues, but he has been a disappointment, she said, especially by rescinding the Obama-era guidelines on how schools should treat transgender students, a point she also made in Friday's episode of 20/20 on ABC. She also criticized Attorney General Jeff Sessions for not even responding to a letter asking that the federal government prosecute the murders of trans women as hate crimes.

"We have a murder rate that's out of control right now. ... We have a suicide rate that's nine times higher than the general public," she said of issues facing transgender people.

When Carlson asked if it wouldn't be enough simply to prosecute someone for murder, without a hate-crime enhancement, Jenner responded, "Too many times trans women who are murdered are brushed off to the side," before they moved on to other subjects.

Those subjects included Trump's nominee for secretary of the Army, Tennessee state Sen. Mark Green -- "This guy has come out with some of the most anti-LGBT statements ever," Jenner said -- and a previous comment by Carlson in which he appeared to suggest that transgender people are capricious about their identity.

"I was born with this," Jenner said of her innate female identity, adding, "It's not something that's just a whim." Carlson said he never meant to suggest it was.

He also asked if transgender female athletes have an advantage over cisgender women -- Jenner said they do not, and the International Olympic Committee has worked out requirements -- and if she could understand that some people of goodwill have some confusion about gender identity issues.

"I don't even think in my lifetime most people will get it," Jenner said. "But we need to bring this subject forward. Why? Because of the youth. ... What I'm fighting for is the next generation coming up, so they can have it easier."

Jenner's memoir is out Tuesday. Watch her full interview with Carlson below, and go here for more about her 20/20 appearance -- which attracted only 4.3 million viewers, while four times as many watched her coming-out interview on the program two years ago.

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